First came the artisan coffees, then the craft breweries and now South Africa is undergoing another taste revolution, craft spirits. Craft gin in particular has become the tipple of choice with dozens of local labels to choose from, while South African craft vodka and rum has also entered the market. Here are some of our favourite local craft labels to look out for in Joburg’s bars and shops.
Jacqueline and Jaco Grobler’s Sandton distillery produces a steadily growing range of craft spirits that includes Angel Heart, a sweet and spicy liqueur, Ginifer Chilli, a fiery gin infused with oak barrel aged chilli essence and Westcliff, a premium gin with notes of vanilla, passionfruit and African ginger that is our favourite of the range.
AU Gold Vodka
Dumo Ndlovu and Lungelo Fatyela’s AU Gold is a small batch, triple distilled grain-based vodka whose named and sleek black and gold packing, emblazoned with a golden outline of the iconic Joburg skyline, is inspired by the city’s gold mining history.
An exciting new Joburg label created by a team of devoted gin drinkers with a background in science and engineering. There are three varieties to choose from; the Citrus Gin, enhanced by ginseng and baobab botanicals, a Floral Gin made with orange blossom and the unique Spice Gin made with exotic peppers and spices.
Three different labels from a beautiful distillery in Stilbaai in the Cape. Proprietor Lorna Scott brought a wealth of knowledge back from Scotland to produce this classy product. Classic, Verdant and Amber are three expressions of some of the beautiful Cape fynbos that she carefully harvests locally and gently infuses into her distillate. Not to be missed.
Hope on Hopkins and Musgrave Crafted Gin
Husband and wife team, Lucy Beard and Leigh Li, both ex-lawyers, left their day jobs to start Hope on Hopkins, a distillery based in the Cape Town suburb of Salt River. Hope on Hopkins produce three of their own craft gins as well as Musgrave, which was created by Simone Musgrave. One of the first craft gins to emerge from South Africa, Musgrave is a delicious melange of cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg and ginger aromas and flavours.
Based in the cool 1 Fox Precinct, which is also home to the spectacular Mad Giant craft brewery and Urbanologi restaurant, LPV produces a sweet potato-based vodka and two infused spirit aperitifs. Pop by their small distillery for cocktails every Friday and Saturday from 12:00 at 1 Fox Precinct in the city centre.
From a small downtown warehouse on the edge of Joburg’s fashionable Maboneng precinct Shanna-Rae Wilby and Warrick Brown conjure up a unique range of craft gins and rums that include a classic London Dry Gin and Livingstone, a rose coloured 'new world gin'. Also look out for the 'Alchemy Trials' a regularly changing limited edition series of experimental spirits. Recent unusual inventions have included Gincello, a gin and limoncello hybrid.